Wells Fargo Adds Mobile App Tool as Technology Fight Heats Up

(Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co. is adding a new tool to make its mobile app easier to use as the bank tries to keep Silicon Valley innovators from stealing more customers.

“Pay with Wells Fargo” will be an option on the app’s home screen that lets customers select their most commonly used features, such as the peer-to-peer payment service Zelle, before logging in. The company’s head of payments, virtual solutions and innovation, Avid Modjtabai, will unveil the new technology Thursday at the bank’s Investor Day, according to a statement reviewed by Bloomberg News.

In addition to Zelle, options including mobile wallets, card-free ATM access and money transfers will be available through a quicker verification process, according to the statement.

U.S. consumers have been slow to adopt mobile-phone payment options, prompting banks, card networks, retailers and tech companies to invest in their own apps to try to win them over. The mobile-payments market could reach $283 billion by 2021, according to estimates by Forrester Research Inc., and banks are fighting for a slice of that business after years of losing to tech startups like PayPal Holdings Inc.’s Venmo.

Pay with Wells Fargo will give customers the “tools that make their financial lives easier and simpler, and put them in control of their finances,” Modjtabai said in the statement. The San Francisco-based bank has undertaken a series of initiatives to get back on track with its customers in the wake of consumer scandals that left it underperforming its peers.

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